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Insight for CUs: Members Taking Longer For Major Decisions, Life Events

Saturday, March 30, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Susan Dyer
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Members are taking longer than before to reach decision points for major purchases and life events.

TruStage™, the consumer brand of CUNA Mutual Group is committed to better understanding credit union members and how their lives, buying behaviors and mindsets continually change.

In January of 2013, TruStage surveyed more than 1,600 credit union members and found a number of generational trends that show how it’s taking longer to reach some major life events and purchase decisions.


Click the image to view infographic.

In some respects, this may seem counterintuitive as "Buy Now!” options lurk everywhere and traditionally manual processes have been turbocharged with online speed. However, TruStage findings show the planning and buying phases of big-ticket items and major life events now take longer than before—and cost more to fund.

For example:
  • Generation Y, the most connected and tech-savvy demographic, actually takes longer to shop for a car than older generations.
  • People date much longer before getting married, thus delaying not only wedding-related purchases but big life events like buying a home or car. In fact, 18–34 year-olds date on average a full year longer than those 55+.
  • College graduates need more time to secure a job, thus delaying many types of major purchases or life events.
  • 18–44 year-olds are underestimating how long it will take to graduate from college despite rapidly increasing tuition costs and growing student loan debt.
  • Retirements are taking longer to reach, necessitating better and earlier planning.
Factors like economic conditions and information overload can help explain the lengthening research and planning times, but for credit unions, the key point is that members’ planning and decision-making processes are changing.

As TruStage Senior Executive Alan Bergstrom explains, "We usually associate key financial, lending and insurance decisions with big moments in members’ lives. Our data show that the time it takes to arrive to those big moments is changing—sometimes planning takes longer, sometimes consumers do more research than they used to, sometimes economic conditions play a role.”

Bergstrom continues, "For credit unions, this encourages new thinking—not only about new forms of information and communications, but when those touchpoints occur. It’s an exciting opportunity to connect and engage with members in ways that are very different from the past.”

 In support of credit unions’ understanding of new and dynamic opportunities, a multiyear $200 million investment focuses on the TruStage mission of protecting more members and the important moments in their lives. Similarly, it means reaching a new understanding of the media and channels members use and the products they desire.

The survey findings can help provide insights about where members might be in their planning and buying decisions, where credit unions might have new opportunities to reach members, and how the evolving mindsets, life events and planning phases of credit union members are constantly changing.

More information (short video, infographic)

TruStage™ Insurance products and programs are made available through TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC and issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company and other leading insurance companies.

CUNA Mutual is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates.

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© CUNA Mutual Group 2013. All rights reserved.